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La Bruja recites her poem “Be Who You Are”
|| 8/21/2008 || 2:29 pm || Comments Off on La Bruja recites her poem “Be Who You Are” || ||

Caridad De La Luz, who goes by La Bruja, is one of America’s leading spoken word artists. Earlier this month in New York City she performed at an event supporting Green Party vice presidential candidate Rosa Clemente. The clip above is one of the final segments of the evening which featured numerous MC’s reciting their poetry and rapping in support of Rosa Clemente’s candidacy. You can view other clips of the event here.

Below the fold is a second video clip of her performance earlier in the evening which features a few more poems:

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A video of an American Goldfinch eating my sunflower’s seeds
|| 8/20/2008 || 7:43 am || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

An American Goldfinch eats my sunflower’s seeds from Nikolas Schiller on Vimeo

In May I received two sunflower seedlings from an exhibitor at Artomatic and I decided to plant them alongside two tomato plants in a large plastic pot on my third floor deck. After diligently feeding them about 5 quarts of water each day, they bloomed in mid-July. A few years back I harvested the seeds from a sunflower plant too prematurely and ended up with partially matured seeds that were unusable. This year I decided to not cut of the heads of the plants to ensure that the seeds would mature and could be used for next year’s planting.

Last week on Thursday, August 14, my 3rd floor deck was visited by a curious guest who announced that it was time to harvest the seeds. I had seen an American Goldfinch before, but in the 4 years years that I’ve lived in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, DC, this was my first sighting. I found that his coloring matched the sunflowers perfectly and made me wonder if the specie obtained its yellow coloring generations ago by feeding on sunflowers?

After noticing him return to the plant a second time, I decided to place a camera on a ladder, hit record, go inside, and remotely film him eating my sunflower’s seeds. It’s a no-frills video, just the wildlife of Washington, DC. At about 6:20 there is the obligatory police siren that one can never seem to escape from in this city. At about 9:15 a Mocking Bird swoops down and attacks the American Goldfinch. You can see the Mocking Bird follow the American Goldfinch in the lower corner about a second later, but the American Goldfinch returns and continues to eat for a few more minutes.

The day after recording this video I decided to cut the heads of the sunflowers and harvest the seeds, but due to the mess recently left on the deck, he’s been back with a hearty appetite and has eaten a few more of the smaller heads. No biggy. I hope he comes back next year.


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Locking a bicycle high up in a tree stymies short thieves, but damages trees
|| 8/19/2008 || 7:08 pm || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

Was at the Civilian Art Projects the other night and saw this bicycle locked to the tree and thought it was funny. Reminded me of this Washington City Paper article on another artfully locked bicycle.

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A World Map Sign @ the A N M Market & Deli in the Atlas District
|| 8/16/2008 || 5:34 pm || Comments Off on A World Map Sign @ the A N M Market & Deli in the Atlas District || ||

Last week I went to the Atlas District of Washington, DC to see my housemate’s band perform at the Rock & Roll Hotel. When I went outside to look for some food I stumbled up the A N M Market & Deli located at 1363 H Street NE, Washington, DC. It looks like they opened recently and have chosen to use a type of text coloring that I find unique– a world map.



My map of the Pentagon to be featured in the “We Are Here” Map Archive in the touring exhibition “Experimental Geography” [2008-2010]
|| 8/15/2008 || 1:39 pm || Comments Off on My map of the Pentagon to be featured in the “We Are Here” Map Archive in the touring exhibition “Experimental Geography” [2008-2010] || ||

I was contacted by Daniel Tucker in January of this year to participate in his map archive. I thought it was a great idea so I offered my Pentagon Quilt #3 map. I received notification this week that the map archive starts its tour for the next two years with the exhibit called Experimental Geography. Here’s the blurb from the website:

EXPERIMENTAL GEOGRAPHY
Geography benefits from the study of specific histories, sites, and memories. Every estuary, land fill, and cul-de-sac has a story to tell. The task of the geographer is to alert us to what is directly in front of us, while the task of the experimental geographer, an amalgam of scientist, artist, and explorer, is to do so in a manner that deploys aesthetics, ambiguity, poetry, and a dash of empiricism. This exhibition explores the distinctions between geographical study and artistic experience of the earth, as well as the juncture where the two realms collide (and possibly make a new field altogether).

The manifestations of “experimental geography” (a term coined by geographer Trevor Paglen in 2002) run the gamut of contemporary art practice today: sewn cloth cities that spill out of suitcases, bus tours through water-treatment centers, performers climbing up the sides of buildings, and sound works capturing the buzz of electric waves on the power grid. In the hands of contemporary artists, the study of humanity’s engagement with the earth’s surface becomes a riddle best solved in experimental fashion. The exhibition presents a panoptic view of this new practice, through a wide range of mediums including interactive computer kiosks, sound and video installations, photography, sculpture, and experimental cartography.

The approaches used by the artists featured in Experimental Geography range from a poetic conflation of humanity and the earth to more empirical studies of our planet. For example, Ilana Halperin explores the intersection of personal, historic, and geologic time, as may be seen in the photograph of her stooping at the edge of natural hot springs to boil a small cup of milk. Creating projects that are more empirically minded, the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), a research organization, examines the nature and extent of human interaction with the earth’s surface, embracing a multidisciplinary approach to fulfilling its mission. Using pragmatic skill sets culled from the toolbox of geography, CLUI forces a reading of the American landscape (which includes traffic in Los Angeles, submerged cities, and the broadcast towers in the San Gabriel Mountains) that refamiliarizes the viewer with the overlooked details of their everyday experience.

Experimental Geography is curated by Nato Thompson, curator and producer at Creative Time in New York, and is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue.

Featuring:
Francis Al
AREA Chicago
The Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI)
the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP)
kanarinka (Catherine D’lgnazio)
e-Xplo
Ilana Halperin
Lize Mogel
Multiplicity
Trevor Paglen
Raqs Media Collective
Ellen Rothenberg
Julia Meltzer and David Thorne
Spurse
Deborah Stratman
Daniel Tucker, Organizer, The We are Here Map Archive < --- Hi! Alex Villar
Yin Xiuzhen

Featured in Daniel Tucker’s We are Here Map Archive:

1. Bill Rankin “My cities” 1978-2004
2. Bill Rankin “The United States” 2003-2007
3. Counter Cartography Collective “Disorientation Guide” 2006
4. Nikolas R. Schiller “Pentagon Quilt #3” 2007
5. Ashley Hunt “Prison Map” 2003
6. Friends of William Blake “The People’s Guide to the RNC” 2004
7. Subrosa “Biopower Unlimited” 2002
8. Ecotrust Canada “Statement of Intent Boundaries” 2008
9. NYC Indypendent “Threat to Peace”
10. Repohistory “Circulation” 2000
11. Lize Mogel and Dario Azzellini “The Privatization of War: Colombia as Laboratory and Iraq as Large-Scale Application” 2007/2008
12. Beehive Design Collective “FTAA” 2003
13. Jeffrey Warren “Armsflow” 2006
14. Center for Urban Pedagogy “Cargo Chain” 2008
15. Temporary Travel Office “Contaminating the Preserve” 2008
16. Hackitectura (Pablo de Soto, Jose Perez de Lama osfa, Marta Paz sweena), Indymedia Estrecho and collaborators “Tactical Cartography of the Straits” 2004
17. Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri “Fear is Somehow Our For Whom? For What? and Proximity to Everything Far Away” 2006
18. The Los Angeles Urban Rangers “Malibu Public Beaches” 2007
19. The Los Angeles Urban Rangers “Los Angeles Urban Rangers Official Map and Guide” 2004
20. The Los Angeles Urban Rangers “LA County Fair” 2006
21. The Institute for Infinitely Small Things “City Formerly Known As Cambridge”
22. Amy Franceschini “Silicon Valley Superfund Sites” 2006
23. Amy Franceschini “Intentional Communities in Silicon Valley” 2008
24. Adriane Colburn “Whose On Top (race to the pole, part two)” 2008
25. Bureau d’études “World Government” 2005
26. Grupo de Arte Callejero “Aqui Viven Genocidas”

There will be a catalog for the exhibition that will be published by Melville House Books. I look forward to getting a copy when it comes out.

The tour starts next month and has dates that are still available. I would like for it to come to Washington, DC! :-)

Exhibition Itinerary

Richard E. Peeler Art Center , DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana
September 19 – December 2, 2008

Rochester Art Center, Rochester, Minnesota
February 7 – April 18, 2009

The Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, New Mexico
June 28 – September 20, 2009

AVAILABLE
October 2009 – January 2010

Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine
February 21 – May 30, 2010

AVAILABLE
June – August 2010

Click on the detail of Pentagon Quilt #3 below to view the rest of the map:

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Bicycle ride home from the 18th Street Lounge in time-lapse
|| 8/14/2008 || 8:55 pm || Comments Off on Bicycle ride home from the 18th Street Lounge in time-lapse || ||

Bicycle ride home from the 18th Street Lounge in time-lapse from Nikolas Schiller on Vimeo

After listening to one of my favorite bands, SEE-I, at the 18th Street Lounge, I decided to record my short bicycle ride home in time-lapse. What is nice about the ride home is that I travel in a special bicycle lane for much of the trip. The music that I added is a sample from Thievery Corporation‘s upcoming album “Radio Retaliation,” which is due in stores on September 23rd, 2008. You can watch a live recording of Sleepy Wonder singing “Radio Retaliation” on Thievery Corporation’s Facebook page.


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Tabvla Festorvm – Table of important Catholic dates from Opera Mathematica
|| 8/13/2008 || 6:32 pm || Comments Off on Tabvla Festorvm – Table of important Catholic dates from Opera Mathematica || ||

Page 394 in the Fifth Volume of Chrisopher Clavius’s Opera Mathematica (1612)
Courtesy of the Mathematics Library at the University of Notre Dame

One of the chief architects of the Gregorian Calendar was Jesuit mathematician & astronomer Chrisopher Clavius. In his “Romani calendarii a Gregorio XIII restituti explicatio” (Rome, 1603) he explained the process behind the creation of the Gregorian Calendar. The table above shows the contemporary dates of the Pentecost, Septuagesima, the Paschal Full Moon as well as some other calculations that are hardly used today. Shortly after his death in 1612, this explanation was republished in volume five of Opera Mathematica.

This volume, known as the explanation of the Gregorian Calendar, literally features hundreds upon hundreds of charts like the one above that show the Roman Calendar going thousands of years into the future. Seriously, its truly amazing how far into the future his tables go! If I had some more time to dabble around with his calculations, it would be neat to see how far they are off after nearly 400 years.


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Gregorius XIII – Pont(ifex) Opt(imus) Maximus / Anno Restituto MDLXXXII
|| 8/12/2008 || 2:27 pm || Comments Off on Gregorius XIII – Pont(ifex) Opt(imus) Maximus / Anno Restituto MDLXXXII || ||

“Pope Gregory XIII / Year of Restitution 1582”
Minted in 1582 to celebrate the creation of the new Roman calendar,
which later became known as the Gregorian Calendar

The other day I was reading about the Gregorian Calendar and stumbled across this coin that was created the year of the calendar reform. It features a portrait of Pope Gregory XIII on the front, and on the back this is dragon eating it’s tail surrounding a ram’s head. The dragon is called an Ouroboros, which I named my recent time lapse video, and as I mentioned before, it represents the cyclicality of time surrounded by the Egyptian Sun God Amun, who’s name means “the one who is hidden.” I find this symbology very interesting because what we consider today to be pagan symbols were used to mark the creation of their perfect calendar— the calendar we use today.

In my opinion, the Ouroboros represents the Milky Way and the Ram represents the sun, and by creating a perfect calendar the sun & the cosmos were finally set in perfect harmony. Except one thing, and in my opinion, the most important part of it all, the perfect calendar removes the importance of natural precession. As in, as the dragon devours its tail, it slowly moves in a circle, and that circle represents the earth’s slow precession backwards through the zodiac. By keeping the months standardized, the natural movement of the Earth is not accounted for in our modern calendar because the Gregorian Calendar standardized the timing of the Paschal Full Moon so all Christians could celebrate Easter on the same day. With that sense of natural drift removed, the understanding behind the Earth’s natural movement around the sun and the origins of why ancients used the Zodiac was diminished.

A good example of this natural drift is the removal of 10 days from October in 1582. Part of this was due to the Julian calendar‘s natural error, but in my opinion, a partial correction in regards to natural drift. In the last 426 years at an average drift of 1 degree every 71.6 years, the earth has precessed approximately 6 degrees since the calendar’s creation. If each sign in the Zodiac is 30 Degrees, then the earth has moved 1/5 of its way through the age since the calendar’s creaction. Interesting stuff! What’s really funny is what I posted here exactly one year ago today.


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Streetfilms: “Summer Streets 2008” in New York City
|| 8/11/2008 || 6:35 pm || Comments Off on Streetfilms: “Summer Streets 2008” in New York City || ||

Click Here To View Video On Website

Looks like the first Summer Streets was an absolute success! When I wrote about Ciclovia in Bogotá, Colombia, I mentioned how I thought it would be fun to have one in DC and even went so far as to demarcate a few streets that could be the starting ground. Watching this video made me seriously wonder how difficult it would be to organize something like this in DC in the not-so-distant future. With the new Smart Bikes coming on-line, I bet there will be more support for this type of community activity. I know I’d have a sound system setup on the closed-off street bumping music mad decent block party style. I already ride my bike everyday.

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OUROBOROS : A Sluggish Time-Lapse Short Video
|| 8/10/2008 || 11:14 pm || Comments Off on OUROBOROS : A Sluggish Time-Lapse Short Video || ||


OUROBOROS : A Sluggish Time-Lapse Short Video from Nikolas Schiller on Vimeo

The Ouroboros is a serpent or worm who eats its own tail. It has been used to represent many things over the ages, but it most generally symbolizes the ideas of cyclicality, unity, infinity, and for this short video, a Great Grey Slug.

Saturday night I was in Baltimore over at a friend’s house and we noticed some slugs crawling up the walls on her back porch. A couple hours later I found the slug on a metal spike and decided to bring it inside to make a time-lapse recording of the slug moving around. After watching the recording a few times, I noticed that it appeared that the slug was always moving in a circle.

Unlike previous short videos that I’ve made recently, I decided to add some music to give it some extra zest. I believe chose I Concerto in A minor, Op. 102 ‘Double Concerto’ – III. Vivace non Troppo performed by Isaac Stern, but I’m not 100% sure because the MP3 that I was given about a year ago did not have the proper citation.

Make sure to look closely at the hole in the side of the slug its a rather interesting breathing apparatus. Also, if you look even more closely, you’ll see my reflection in the pots & pans in the background.

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  • thank you,
    come again!